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Dec 30, 2019

Rohit and Sultana are staying in education

Sultana
Sultana

You’ll read here about two 16 year olds, who are keen to continue in education despite the considerable practical, financial and social pressures to quit.

Sultana is studying in class VII. She is a bright girl and wants to stay in education. She is very vulnerable as both her parents have abandoned her and her brother. They live in a shelter by the Topsia sewage canal. Sultana’s brother supports her out of his wages in a leather factory but he is away from the home all day until very late, leaving Sultana alone and at risk.  However, Sultana attends Tiljala SHED’s evening classes in our community centre just along the path from where she lives.  Every evening from 5 pm until 9 pm she and other teenagers receive support for their studies

Rohit is also 16 and, like Sultana, he attends evening classes in our Topsia Centre. Rohit lives with his disabled father, his mother and five siblings. His father runs a small grocery stall and his mother is a maidservant. The family income is very low.  Rohit wants to complete his education so that he can get a good job and support his family. He loves the evening classes and is making good progress at school.

It is very common for girls like Sultana in these ultra-poor communities to end up married at 13 or 14, illiterate and with little hope for a future any different from their parents’. A boy like Rohit would generally drop out of school at about 10 years old and would be sent out to work to help support the family.  This project enables these young people to remain in education. We work hard to persuade the parents that they should allow their children to stay at school; we encourage and support the youngsters in their studies and we motivate them by providing a safe, stimulating, fun and studious environment. 

Just £11 a month enables us to keep a child like Rohit or Sultana in education.

 

A note: You will have heard from GlobalGiving that there is a problem disbursing your donations to the project. This is because all GlobalGiving's disbursements to Indian projects have been held up at government level. I am working on a solution which will unblock the funds and get your donations safely where they need to go. Meanwhile, the project is moving forward as we always aim to keep a modest cushion of funds for just this eventuality. Thank you for your patience.

Rohit
Rohit
Dec 27, 2019

Asha is growing her business

ASHA
ASHA

Asha is 46 years old and lives in a makeshift shelter beside the open sewer in the Kolkata suburb of Topsia. After her husband died of cancer five years ago, Asha had to find a way of supporting herself and seven other family members. She sold her precious wedding dowry jewellery – a set of earrings – and started her business. She went to the market and bought garments at wholesale prices and then sold door to door for a small profit. Gradually the business grew. In August this year Asha took a small loan of Rs20,000 from this microfinance project and she was able to take the business to another level. She no longer goes from house to house: her customers come to her. They buy on credit and repay her in weekly instalments.

Before taking out this loan Asha earned just 4000 to 5000 rupees per month, barely enough to feed 8 hungry mouths. Since she took the loan her income has increase to 12 – 13,000 rupees per month. Her dream is to own a small shop.

It is thanks to the generosity of our donors that women like Asha have been able to turn their lives around. Since this project was launched in 2016 over 520 small loans have been made to destitute families. 142 loans went to rag picker families and nearly 400 went to ultra-poor families. Every loan is repaid so that the funds can be recycled to help other families. The repayment rate hovers around the 95% - 98% mark – and this is remarkable given that the beneficiaries are almost all illiterate. A recent survey shows that 74% of the beneficiary families have maintained an increased income since taking out the loan – and many of the families, like Asha’s, have considerably increased their incomes. Some have even been able to move away from the squatter camps and into permanent legal accommodation.

This programme is very popular in the local community and also with our staff. They really see the difference financial inclusion makes to some of India’s most vulnerable people. The benficiaries themselves want to feel they are not receiving aid, but are accessing credit. They are proud to repay their loans and often repay ahead of schedule. A truly empowering project. Thank you for your generosity.

 

A note: You will have heard from GlobalGiving that there is a problem disbursing your donations to the project. This is because all GlobalGiving's disbursements to Indian projects have been held up at government level. I am working on a solution which will unblock the funds and get your donations safely where they need to go. Meanwhile, the project is moving forward as we always aim to keep a modest cushion of funds for just this eventuality. Thank you for your patience.

Dec 17, 2019

Zeenat is studying Law at University

Zeenat
Zeenat

Zeenat was one of the first girls enrolled in this project in 2016. She was living in a tiny single room in the slum with her mother and younger brother. Her parents are divorced so her mother, a saleswoman, supports her family on just £30 (or $40) a month.

Many girls in Zeenat’s position would have found themselves married off in their early teens, practically illiterate, poor and destined to a life of drudgery and childbearing. But Zeenat and her mother clearly had different ideas. Zeenat, against the odds, remained in school. We met her when she was in class XII and about to leave school. She very much wanted to go on to university but needed the financial support to do so. 3 years on she is studying Law at Calcutta University. She is doing well, having passed every semester and wants to become a barrister.

Zeenat is unusual in her ambition and imagination and we were very happy to take her on. Thanks to your generosity Zeenat has every chance of changing her destiny and perhaps changing many lives for the better through her career. It is rare for girls from this kind of background to step out of the slum in this way and we are so proud of her.

Your donations cover the cost of fees, books, stationery, travel, nutritional supplements, medical aid and other incidentals. It makes the difference between continuing her education or abandoning her dreams.


Thank you for making this possible. 

 

A note: You will have heard from Global Giving that there is a problem disbursing your donations to the project. This is beause all Global Giving's disbursements to Indian projects have been held up at government level.  I am working on a solution which will unblock the funds and get your donations safely where they need to go. Meanwhile, the project is moving forward as we always aim to keep a modest cushion of funds for just this eventuality. 

Thank you for your patience. 

Zeenat's 5th semester results
Zeenat's 5th semester results
 
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